Header photo credit: Unsplash
Our household stopped drinking cow’s milk several years ago. I jumped on the bulletproof coffee bandwagon, and then when good coconut oil was difficult to come by, I stopped adding anything and drank my coffee black.
Then when my daughter began feeling ill after her morning cereal, she stopped drinking cow’s milk and switched to nut milk if we drink any at all.
Utilise the leftover almond meal from making almond milk and use it to make muffins for breakfast!
Impatient? Jump straight to the almond milk recipe here
But why switch to almond milk?
Every household has its own reasons.
I am not against cow’s milk, but I do prefer alternatives when available. This comes from a feeling of unease related to the ethics of production (there are a good number of other ethically dubious foods I continue to enjoy for now. When did food become so complicated?).
There have been many studies done to investigate the environmental impact of plant milks and cow’s milk. There is no one-size-fits-all result.
This article cites a study that concludes that cow’s milk is clearly worse for the environment in the production phase, but due to the transport cost of fresh almond and fresh soy milks, alternatives are not environmentally friendly if you live a long way from the production facility – which most of us do. Most of the plant milks consumed are not fresh, so the transport component is less (there’s no refrigeration and they’re less time sensitive), but the Tetra Pak packaging must be considered.
Adding to the complexity, the environmental factors also depend on where the product is grown. Most of the world’s almond production is now in California (82%!), which is currently experiencing a drought. Redirecting precious water resources for the very thirsty almond production is devastating for the region. It has been reported that large parts of California have been sinking owing to reduced water-table levels. Perhaps there is a more suitable location for growing almonds (or you can choose another plant milk).
Whilst still not as much are dairy, almond milk uses A LOT of water.
Cow’s milk has many health benefits, with calcium being the most obvious, but there are many other dietary sources. Whilst I am not lacking in calcium, I have been found to be deficient in vitamin D (which your body gets from sunlight); most of us here in Hong Kong are most likely deficient in this, especially nowadays. Milk and cereals are often fortified with vitamin D.
A hundred grams of almonds (which make 1L of almond milk) works out to be about HK$16 if you buy by the kilogram online.
All these factors can be controlled by making your own
Recipe: Almond milk with a ChufaMix
- hand blender
- ChufaMix vegan milker
- about 100g almonds
- 1L water
- 2 dates (according to taste)
- Soak the almonds for up to 12 hours – this “activates” them (they will sprout after being soaked), and the resulting milk will have a stronger flavour. I sometimes soak them for only 30 minutes if I’m making the milk fresh in the morning. After soaking, the water will look quite dirty, and you will need to rinse the almonds afterwards.
- Fill your ChufaMix container with 1L water and put in the sieve. Seed 2 dates and then add to the sieve for sweetness.
- Add your soaked and rinsed almonds and blend for 1 minute or so.
- Use the ChufaMix pestle to compact the almond meal and squeeze out all the “milk”.
- Store in the fridge in a sealable container for up to 3 days. This almond milk is not pasteurised, so it needs to be shaken prior to use.
- Optional: dry the almond meal in the oven at about 80°C and store until you are ready to blitz it for making almond flour.
That’s it! Almond milk is incredibly easy to make. You can also make all sorts of vegan milks with a ChufaMix, and it comes with a recipe book.
For more awesome recipes like this, like Foodie on Facebook